How did the Flu Epidemic End in 1918?

After the second wave, many U.S. cities saw a dramatic increase in outbreaks. The greatest question researchers ask is why was the second wave so lethal?

The third wave, in October, had spread throughout the world.

The explanation given at the time was doctors got better at preventing and treating the pneumonia which developed after the victims contracted the virus.

What we know is the pandemic lasted fifteen months and killed between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide.

Other theories state the virus mutated into a less lethal strain, which is a common occurrence for influenza viruses.

However, the exact reason the epidemic ended remains unknown and rest in theories alone.   Researchers today believe it was due to those who caught the flu either dying or becoming immune.  The biggest known reason for the end, is that immune systems began to recognize it.

An undercurrent of fear remained at first, wondering if the disease would return. Schools, churches, theaters and businesses reopened and slowly life returned to normal.

But with the official end of the Great War, a euphoria grew and slowly fears began to ease and eventually become forgotten.

Over the decades, medicine has improved, and antibiotics and vaccines developed, but none of this was available 100 years ago during the 1918 influenza epidemic. says, “Almost 90 years later in 2008, researchers announced they’d discovered what made the 1918 flu so deadly: A group of three genes enabled the virus to weaken a victim’s bronchial tubes and lungs and clear the way for bacterial pneumonia.”

Over the course of time, and with the outbreaks of other pandemics, the Spanish flu has often been forgotten by historians.  For this reason, it is often referred to as the forgotten pandemic.

The greatest lesson learned from the Spanish flu is the importance to tell the truth and provide credible information.

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